“I am motivated by the classical imperative to both educate and delight; I want my audience to learn from my work as well as to enjoy it—I seek to inspire a greater awareness of my subject matter and pleasure in the work itself. ”

Will Cordeiro is a recipient of a 2017 Artist Research & Development Grant.

Artist Research and Development Grants are designed to support the advancement of artistic research, aid in the development of artistic work and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities. For more information about the Artist Research & Development Grant, click here.

Cordeiro’s will complete a cross-genre creative nonfiction manuscript, The Book of Sand: Dunes of the Southwest. Sand dunes, despite their unique ecology and abundant human interest, have been relatively neglected in literature. Cordeiro’s manuscript will include lyric and personal essays, histories, poems, and prose poems, interviews, and other literary genres. Specific pieces will focus on topics such as the rare or endangered species that are confined to particular dune fields—e.g., the coral pink tiger beetle, the Sand Mountain blue butterfly, and the dunes sagebrush lizard; the culture of dune buggy and OHV enthusiasts; grazing rights and desertification on the Navajo reservation; stories of rangers from White Sands and Great Sand Dunes parks; personal narratives about Hot Well Dunes and Cinder Hills; interpretations of restoration ecology and soil science; the impact of the Trinity testing site; and behind-the-scenes tales from movies filmed on location at Coral Pink Sand Dunes.

Will Cordeiro is a writer whose place-based work across several genres examines the intersections of ecology, history, cultures, and traditions. After graduating from Franklin and Marshall College with degrees in Philosophy and Cognitive Science in 2000, he worked as a special education teacher through the New York City Teaching Fellows Program, during which time he earned his M.S. in Education (2005) and co-founded the Brooklyn Playwrights Collective. He subsequently received his MFA in Poetry (2009) and Ph.D. in English Literature (2014), both from Cornell University. He has previously taught at the University of Arizona, UA Poetry Center, Pima Community College, Auburn Maximum Security Prison, and Johns Hopkins Center for Talent Youth. For the past two years, he has been a faculty member in the Honors Program at Northern Arizona University, where he currently holds the faculty-in-residence position.

Cordeiro’s poetry has been published in over 100 journals, including Copper Nickel, Crab Orchard Review, Fourteen Hills, New Madrid, Phoebe, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His creative nonfiction and book reviews have been published in CutBank, DIAGRAM, Jacket, New Walk, and other outlets. His fiction has been published in BOAAT, Fiction Southeast, Superstition Review, Threadcount, and elsewhere. As a playwright, he has had productions of his work staged at many off-off-Broadway and local venues, including a performance of an operetta for which he wrote the libretto at the Johnson Museum of Art. He has been awarded a fellowship from the Truman Capote Trust and artist residencies from ART 342, Blue Mountain Center, Ora Lerman Trust, Provincetown Community Compact, Petrified Forest National Park, and Risley Residential College. He is the co-editor of Eggtooth Editions, a small press that sponsors an annual chapbook contest in conjunction with the Northern Arizona Book Festival. His own chapbook, Utopia, Inc., is forthcoming from White Knuckle Press in 2017.

Photo by Cybele Knowles